Life is a series of memories, and bonding with your child assures that he will have happy memories. With schools back in session and cooler temperatures moving in, here are a few simple fall child-centered activities that require active listening and help you take time to be present with your child. Listen to him actively when he has something to say, by repeating back to him what you hear, assuring him that you’re with him… that you are paying attention. Child-centered activities includes some “we time” with your child, whether it’s going to a movie, a museum, out to lunch, or just playing with his favorite doll or car. Take the lead from your child and be sure to give him some options. By investing him in child-centered activities, your child will be seen, and feel valued and validated.
- Make a crafts box. With younger children, you can use crayons, craft paper, finger paint, and water colors. For older children oil paints, modeling clay, scissors, pencils, and colored pencils. There’s nothing like creating something new regardless of your age and this is an activity that you can really get into with your child.
- Take a trip. Whether it’s to a park, a historical site such as Williamsburg or Gettysburg, an amusement park, or a visit to grandma and grandpa’s house. Time alone with mom and dad that has adventure all over it is both stimulating and exciting and will be remembered forever.
- Try planting something and watching it grow. Children love to see something start as a seed and end up as a fruit, vegetable, or plant. And there’s nothing more fun than putting your hands in the dirt and bringing up something from nothing. In fact, gardening can lead to a business enterprise as children sell the fruits and vegetables they’ve grown in their garden patch.
- Reading and bedtime stories that are child-centered become interactive bonding experiences. Allow your child to ask questions and engage his imagination by asking him to give a different ending or insight to the story.
- Dinner time can be a wonderful time for serendipity. Go around the table asking each child, and mom and dad, to participate by sharing something good that happened to them that day. This adds to the intimacy of a family and puts you in touch with what is going on in your child’s life.
- Story time, as opposed to reading, by sharing your childhood experience, your history, and your child’s history with him. This type of story time can be a wonderful bonding experience. By anchoring your child to his past, you are connecting him to the traditions he will engage in his future. Writing stories and sharing them with one another leads to putting on plays for family celebrations and outings.
- Share a special place that is close to your heart, such as your favorite park or beach. By spending quality time with your child, whether it’s hiking, biking or swimming, you’re intimately connecting while also having fun.
In the final analysis, bonding is about being together because you want to be. All of these experiences are both fun and valuable only when they are heartfelt. So, while you’re building memories for your children, remember there will come a day when you reflect back and find that you’ve built happy memories for yourself as well.